For example, if you were to join us around the kitchen table, you might find the following scenarios:
Aaron turns sideways on the bench and leans against the nearest wall. With one elbow propped on the table, he dips a steak fry in ketchup and with great care, navigates the two and half feet to his mouth. As you look across the table, you might find Lydia lounging in the same comfortable position, but not nearly as successful with the ketchup delivery. This little monkey doesn't have quite the same hand-eye coordination. In fact there is a small trail of red ketchup from her table to her mouth, traveling up her chin!
Gratefully, Aaron also models responsible behavior at the dinner table. As he is faithful to say, "please", "thank you", "may I be excused?", we have heard Lydia mimic these same words. She is learning the importance of good manners as she watches and listens to her older brother use those magic words. Of course, she still has a way to go. Recently during dinner she sat at her seat, pointed to her soup and informed me, "that smells stinkies." That silly monkey followed her previous winning compliment with, "This bad." Those zingers are 100% Lydia!
Norah is a busy body around the table. Up. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down. She has a lot of trouble sitting, due in part to the fact that her body has trouble containing her boundless energy and due in part to the fact that there are so many amazing things to look at in the kitchen! As we sit down to eat, someone will comment on a magazine that came in the mail ... Norah jumps up to find said magazine and show it to us all. "Please sit down." Next a song comes on our Pandora station and someone asks who the artist is ... Norah jumps up to check the iPod and informs us that it's Jack Johnson. "Please sit down." Someone at the table mentions that they are thirsty ... Norah jumps up and races to the fridge to get more water. "Please sit down." It wouldn't be such a big deal that she wants to be such a finder/informer/helper if she didn't have her side-kick. With each leap from the table, our littlest monkey is right on her heels, seeking to find, inform and help, too. It's like Grand Central Station in our kitchen. "Please sit down!"
On the flip side, Norah is a terrific role model when to comes time to help in the kitchen. As she unloads the dishwasher or helps to set the table, she is quick to give manageable jobs to Lydia. She encourages her little helper to carry the kids' bowls to the drawer or stack the plastic cups. With each completed chore in the kitchen, Lydia is learning where things live and how to help clean up. Of course, we're still working on that monkey not licking the silverware before returning them to the drawer or sucking the clean cups onto her cute little face ... but she's a work in progress!
Ashley is a slow-waker-upper in the mornings which often results in her laying sideways on the kitchen bench. In the middle of breakfast. One minute we are all eating together and the next minute I look across the table and Ashley has disappeared. A quick peek under the table reveals our little missy slumped over, eyes part-way closed and sucking on her finger. "Sit up, please." She moans and groans and pulls herself up to a sitting position. Propping her head on her hand she starts in on her cereal again with a sigh. As soon as she is vertical again, Lydia takes her cue to get horizontal! But she's happy and giggling. She stretches out next to Ashley and pokes her sister in the hiney with her pointy toes. "Sit up, please." That goofy monkey peeks above the table to see if I'm serious and then quickly plops herself in from of her own cereal. Just in time, because Ashley is headed back to being prone!
At the dinner table, Ashley is our cautious eater. She doesn't jump into eating different foods very readily. She is much more comfortable with the old faithfuls: tacos, pasta, hamburgers. But ... she is willing to have her three required bites. The same night that Lydia had such glowing compliments about the pumpkin soup, Ashley was equally unexcited. She did have her three bites, however, and even voluntarily ate a few additional spoonfuls later on in the meal. Her obedience in at least trying unfamiliar dishes is a great model for Lydia. As our littlest monkey watches Ashley grimace through her mandatory bites, she is more willing to follow suit ... same bites and same grimace!
Our big monkeys are showing our littlest monkey how life works in even more ways than just around the kitchen table. In light of that truth, I can honestly say that I am RELIEVED that we laid the foundation with our older kids about what is expected in behavior and attitude. They teach Lydia more in one day through their actions and conduct than I am able to do in my efforts of endless visits, talking-to's and time-outs. Whew!
In reality we are all participating in this game of Monkey See, Monkey Do. We watch the people in our circle of influence and we mimic things they say and do. And then we turn around and realize that someone is watching us ... and doing and saying what we say and do. This fact makes my heart hammer ... and I can only hope that whatever I'm doing is worth imitating!
The apostle Paul was a proponent of Monkey See, Monkey Do ... as long as the model was Jesus. He committed his life to following Jesus' model for life and in his letters he repeatedly challenged his readers to do the same.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. (Philippians 3:17)
Not just because it was the right thing to do, but because this right way of life results in blessings and fullness. We can choose the people we want to emulate by looking at their lives and seeing if the evidence of their faith confirms the rightness of their life. It's a circle of rightness!
7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. (Hebrews 13:7)
What are you seeing?
What are you doing?
Does your life reflect your faith?
Day 1: Mom in the Midst
Day 2: My Button is Lame
Day 3: Splendidly Lavish
Day 4: Keeping My Head Above Water
Day 6: Me, Myself & I
Day 7: Food For Though ~ Bacon